How To Beef Up Your Strat Tone A Simple Wiring Mod Tutorial

ibanezcollector

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ok in this tutorial I am going to show you how to add some beef to thicken up your traditional 3 single coil strat tone. This is an easy mod and can be done by soldering a few wires, will take about an hour from start to finish.
List of things needed:
Soldering Iron and Solder
Double Pull/Double Throw Mini Switch or Push Pull Pot
Electrical Tape or Heat Shrink
Drill and Appropriate Bit if using the Mini Switch


First thing lets go over what this mod will do. We all love strats but sometimes the tone isnt thick enough or you might even been debating buying a humbucker guitar. With this mod you can have the best of both worlds.

With the Switch in the off position you get your standard 5 way switching as normal. With the Switch engaged to the on position you get 3 additional tones with quite a bit more ummmph to them. I will put those tones below.

Position 5: Neck Only
Position 4: Neck Only
Position 3: Neck and Middle In Series
Position 2: Neck and Middle in Parallel Ran In Series With Bridge
Position 1: Bridge and Neck In Series


Ok lets take a look at the switch itself.



As you can see we have four wires. A Red wire which crosses both terminals on that side. This gets ran and piggy backed on the neck position of the 5 way switch.

You then need to desolder the grounds from your pickups off the back of the pot. With those desoldered, you will then resolder the neck ground back to the back of the pot, this is the only pickup ground grounded to the pot.

Next we will need to solder the two wires in the middle of the switch to the appropriate grounds(labeled above) this is where you will use the heat shrink or electrical tape, make sure these two wires dont touch anything else.

Finally we will ground the wire crossing both terminals from the other side of the switch to the back of the volume pot.

You have now completed the mod. If you are using a mini switch you will have to decide before hand where you want the switch to be placed. I always put mine right next to the 5 way running on the same angle as the 5 way this is easiest for me to access. If using a push pull pot you dont have to worry about this step.



Here is a video of the mod in action. I will first go through the standard 5 way strat switching, then the mod switching, and finally A/B'ing between both.

In the video I am using a modded parts caster, loaded with Fender Vintage Noiseless Pickups.

The signal chain is Partscaster > Line 6 Pod HD Desktop > Reaper NO Post Processing > Sony Vegas To Sync The Camera Video with the Audio

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTNlbJksTu8"]How to BEEF UP your strat tone, with a simple mod! - YouTube[/ame]

For those who are wondering here is my settings for the Pod HD

Effects Used:



Amp Model Used With Deep Edit Amp Parameters:



Cabinet Model Used With Deep Edit Cabinet Parameters:

 

RaSTuS26

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Sweet mod IC, thanks for the detailed explanation, I've got a few things on the go at the moment, but I've bookmarked it for future reference, something I look forward to trying.
 

Leendrix

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It sounds like bliss! :thumb: Thank you very much!
 

Bigneil

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That's a great mod to try. thanks for sharing it.
 

Grand Pappy

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Cool! I had some extra time and a mini toggle laying around, so I did this mod today and everything works as advertised. Thanks for sharing!
Installed it on my beater Strat and intend to spend some time checking out all the different settings.
 

dkijc

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Hey Ibanezcollector, first of all, thank you so much for the mod! I tried it on my beat up squire and it worked like a charm!! But one of my tuning pegs broke so I actually had to abandon the guitar and do the mod another strat I have (classic player 50). I had a neck pick up problem (installed Dimarzo's Area 58 but the green wire was ripped) so the 5th position's sound was almost non existent. but from the 4th to 1st I had sound and also after turning the switch on, I did get a fatter sound.

So, I set out to fix my neck pup problem and this afternoon I actually fixed the neck pup (surprisingly, I've made a toy pickup before by winding wires and I actually followed what I learnt from there and it worked!! Hahha) so all positions sounded like what they were supposed to be..... BUT BUT BUT.. after fixing my neck pick up after I switched on the toggle switch, I get no sound.... :( 4th and 5th does have the neck pup sound but 3-1st position I get a bit of a hum but no sound through it.

I had the neck pick up and the toggle switch's ground to be both on the vol pot but just incase I changed the ground from the neck pup to the first tone pot. That didn't do anything.

I feel like there might be some grounding issue but I don't know if grounding issue would actually cause no sound to come out at all.

Do you think you might have some ideas as to what's going on??? Can the switch be broken if I solder too much or if it gets too hot?

Thank you soooo much!!

BTW. When I tried on my squire.. I LOVED IT :)
 

dkijc

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I figured it out. I 'piggy' backed on the neck pickup by soldering the joint on one of the pins that gets selected when it's in the neck position. So obviously when the selector is not on that pin, it's not gonna get any sound. I resoldered it on top of the neck pickup line and it's working like a charm. Awesome. Through this I learnt quite a bit about grounding and wiring. Thanks! :)
 

Cyclave

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I have a Squier right now with Vintage Noiseless and have a Fender MIM coming in today. I plan on switching the pickups of the two and then doing this mod (when I get the time) on my new MIM. I love the idea of some humbucking sound like my SG had before I put in a 490r/498t combo.

Thanks, man!

EDIT: 100th post and first thanks given!
 

StratGT

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I have this on my '04 Fender Deluxe Strat equipped with Bill Lawrence pickups...Fender calls it their S1 switching system. Makes your Strat very versatile.

Excellent thread.
 

Electroman67

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Definitely looks like something worth trying, could always use the wire soldering practice too.
 

syd2aussie

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Ibanezcollector: thanks for this post. It's exactly the tone I'm looking for on my squier strat. However, I'm kind of a newbie when it comes to guitar wiring. Could you explain what "pot" or "pots" I'm soldering the ground wires to? I get how to wire the switch but don't know exactly where those wires would go. Thanks for your help and your tutorial. It's great. Tom
 

rmendozajr

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Hi Ibanezcollector and fellow members. This is exactly the type of mod I have been looking for to drop into my strat. Would you mind eye-ing my wiring diagram to see if I understood the picture at the start of the thread. I really enjoy modding my guitars but want to make sure I drew up the diagram correctly. I apologize for the crudeness of my rendition and any errors I may have made. Thanks guys.

 

Duane71

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Did this mod with a push pull. Love all 3 tones. All sound great, all very usable. Thanks alot Ibanezcollector. And thanks rmendozajr for the link.
 

MacStrat

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Actually, the 2nd position with mod switch ON is Bridge and Middle in parallel connected in series to the Neck.
 

woodmusic

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Actually, the 2nd position with mod switch ON is Bridge and Middle in parallel connected in series to the Neck.
Are you sure this is correct? The Op says "Position 2: Neck and Middle in Parallel Ran In Series With Bridge".

I did a search and found another mod that is almost identical but with position 2 as you say, so perhaps you are right. Here is the link for it:
SOME SERIES, PARALLEL, AND OUT OF PHASE SWITCHING TRICKS

It is project 3 on the page.

BTW, I´m new to this forum. How can I send private messages?

Regards.
 

RaSTuS26

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Welcome to MyLP WM, you need 5 or 10 posts (can't recall which) to use the PM system.
 

woodmusic

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Welcome to MyLP WM, you need 5 or 10 posts (can't recall which) to use the PM system.
Hey RaSTuS26,

Thanks! and thank you for letting me know. So this is my second post.
Please, let´s chat until I get to 5 or 10! Hehe...

Regards.
 




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